by Satu Järvinen
Digitalisation has been said to be the biggest upheaval Finnish schools have faced in decades. Knowledge and understanding of ICT tools is a core skill of the new basic education curriculum introduces to schools in 2016. The curriculum places ICT skills as one of the seven transversal competences that apply to all subject areas of the curriculum. For ICT skills it means that instead of seeing the skills as a separate competence, learning ICT skills is combined with learning different subject matters. This allows teachers to make use of a rich variety of ICT tools in teaching math, languages, science, biology, arts… or any other of the 21 subjects offered in the Finnish curriculum. Four Ferries will present their solution to ICT integration in Math at eLA in Abidjan.
ICT skills are not the only transversal competence integrated to subjects in Finnish education. These skills have been incorporated into the learning objectives of all subjects of the curriculum. The full list of transversal competences show how the new curriculum puts a strong focus on developing soft skills that students will need in order to succeed in the future world of work:
- Thinking and Learning to Learn
- Cultural Competence, Interaction, and Self-Expression
- Taking Care of Oneself and Managing Daily Life
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Competence
- Working Life Competence and Entrepreneurship
- Participation, Involvement, and Building a Sustainable Future
While digitalization speeds up the process of finding and processing information and solving problems, it does not in itself solve the problems of teaching and learning. First and foremost, if ICT tools are meant to be used in a meaningful way in learning, pedagogical change is needed. In addition to technical ICT skills, schools need to guide children towards rich information management and responsible behavior in digital environments. This requires schools to adopt new pedagogical approaches and upskilling of teachers. SkillSafari works in teacher ICT skills development and validation in Finland and internationally.
For the past few years, more and more Finnish education solution providers have started to share their expertise and solutions at an international level with a raising interest towards Africa. Some of them, including SkillSafari (www.skillsafari.io) and FourFerries (www.fourferries.com) are already actively working in different parts of the continent. SkillSafari works with their digital solutions for teacher skills mapping and validation in Tunisia, Morocco, Rwanda and Zambia, while Four Ferries is piloting their highly successful research based math solution in Gambia.
In addition to SkillSafari and Four Ferries, eLearning Africa will be joined by a Finnish delegation presenting a large variety of Finnish education solutions and services from all education levels. PINO Network (www.pinonetwork.fi), an umbrella promoting Finnish learning solution provibers globally has in its network a large variety of education solution providers. Huippu Education empowers Early Childhood Education and Educators while Polart Partners design Finnish standard schools.
Most of the services presented are based on working with Finnish schools to support schools and teachers to deliver modern learning. Following the Finnish tradition, all solutions are often built with a “pedagogy-first” principle, meaning that the learning of students is at the core of all services. Technology services learning and complements learning by increasing access, relevance and/or quality. The delegation travelling from snow to sunshine has experts on Early Childhood Education, Basic Education, Vocational Education (TVET), Higher Education and Teacher Training in addition to digital solutions supporting learning in various subjects, assessment, coding, artificial Intelligence, learning environment design… All that is needed to provide education of the highest quality.
A lesson we have learned in Finland is that no single actor is able to solve the challenges required for quality education. We need all stakeholders, educators, managers, experts, technology companies and even students working together in preparing solutions that take education to the future and the next generation to their prosperous futures.
Responsible for setting global educational service strategy and implementing innovative digital learning solutions to create access to quality education worldwide. With a strong belief that technology gives students unprecedented advantages for learning and attaining critical skills needed for successful careers, Satu works with local and global partners to develop and effectively deploy education solutions for all learners and educators.